Kevin Smith's Online Rant Gets Heated Response From Film Critics

'Cop Out' director rails against movie reviewers, provoking a flurry of angry responses from critics.

It's not hard to figure out if you're on Kevin Smith's bad side. All you have to do is look at his Twitter account, an online outlet where Smith calls it like he sees it. Barely a month has passed since [article id="1631958"]Smith famously railed against Southwest Airlines[/article], but the director is once again making his voice heard with a new target: movie critics.

Furious over the critical treatment of "Cop Out," Smith took to Twitter to compare the backlash against his latest film to a schoolyard bully picking on "a retarded kid" who wasn't harming anybody "and wanted only to give some cats some fun laughs." As a result, Smith developed a new stance on how movie reviews should work.

"Realized [the] whole system's upside down: so we let a bunch of people see [a movie] for free and they sh-- all over it?" he tweeted. "From now on, any flick I'm ever involved with, I conduct screenings thusly: you wanna see it early to review it? Fine: pay like you would if you saw it next week. Like, why am I giving an arbitrary 500 people power over what I do at all, let alone for free. Why's their opinion more valid? It's a backwards system. People are free to talk sh-- about any of my flicks, so long as they paid to see it."

Smith's controversial comments have not gone unchallenged, as several movie journalists have rallied against the "Mallrats" filmmaker's position. "If it is your job to see and review movies (cush job though this may be) it is not wrong to see these movies for free," argued Jordan Hoffman at "Does a bus driver pay for his own gas? No. Gas is provided to the bus driver, even though his job is cool enough to just drive around in a bus all day."

Some reviewers felt as though Smith had treated them dishonestly. "When Smith e-mailed me a few years back after he read my 'Clerks 2' review, I was flattered," wrote Dustin Rowles of Pajiba. "But as time passed, and I began to notice that this was part of Kevin Smith's personal marketing effort, I began to realize that the flattery was the point. And it began to feel disingenuous. I mean, he said it himself: 'If a schmuck like me pays you some attention, score! More eyes means more advertising dollars.' He was playing us. He was playing all of us."

"You'd think the guy responsible for 'Mallrats' (aggregate critical rating of 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) would have developed a thicker skin by now," said MTV's own Kurt Loder. "He could certainly ban all critics' screenings for his films in the future, but that's a practice traditionally employed by people who know their movies stink, and want to give them at least an opening weekend to sucker-in some viewers. Should he choose to go that route (highly unlikely), a lot of people might start wondering if KS hasn't been somewhat overrated from the beginning of his career."

What do you think of Kevin Smith's back-and-forth with film critics? Let us know in the comments!

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